Magic Hope

Robert stepped into the Chinese restaurant and sat at his regular red and gold booth. He took a moment to admire the dragon-themed decor in the restaurant. Small dragon statues and elegant watercolor paintings dotted the empty restaurant.

When he first discovered the business he wondered how it stayed afloat financially. He rarely saw any other patrons, despite the food being the best he’d ever eaten. It was not until after several visits getting to know the owner he realized the restaurant was a hobby for her. He smiled when he saw the elderly Asian woman step out of the kitchen and head towards his table. He stood to greet her.

“Mrs. Chang, it’s great to see you,” he offered a hand, but she waved it away with a smile and encouraged him to sit back down.

“The usual, Mr. Alonso?” she asked. Robert nodded.

“Please! But, I’m also here on business. That is if you have a minute?”

“Sure, sure. Let me place your order.” She smiled and walked back into the kitchen. Before the swinging door completed its motion she came back out again. The frail woman sat across from him in the booth and smiled.

“Did you bring good news?” she asked.

“Yes!” Robert could barely contain his excitement. He reached into his suit pocket and pulled out a small photo, then handed it to Mrs. Chang. She studied the picture of a young looking couple. The man smiled with a kind, brown-bearded face. His dark green eyes sparkled with hope. The woman’s light green hair was put up in a pony-tail that almost reached the man’s shoulders. She smiled as brightly as the man.

“The Foresters came to me a couple months ago, and I’ve spent the time learning as much about them as I can. They’re good people,” he said. “I wanted to set up an afternoon to let them get to each other. What do you think?” Mrs. Chang set the picture on the table and shrugged.

“It’s not for me to say.” She stood from the booth and walked back into the kitchen. Robert waited almost ten minutes for her to return. She came out of the kitchen carrying a steaming plate of food and an eight-year-old blue haired girl following her. The young girl held on to Mrs. Chang’s apron and did her best to hide behind the petite woman. The old woman sat the plate down in front of Robert, then turned to the little girl.

“Aura you remember Mr. Alonso, right?” The girl nodded from behind Mrs. Chang and released the apron long enough to give a small wave. Mrs. Chang sat in the booth again, and Aura scooted in close to sit next to her. “He has some good news for you,” she added, then handed the girl the picture from the table. The girl looked at the picture and her emerald eyes grew wide. A hint of a smile tugged up at the corners of her lips. Robert pushed his plate of orange beef aside and leaned over the table. He spoke to the girl with a soft voice.

“Mr. and Mrs. Forester asked me to find them a daughter that was just like them. I only know one little girl that’s as special as they are. Would you like to meet them?” Aura looked at the picture again, then at Robert.

“They’re like me?” she asked with a whisper of disbelief. Robert nodded.

“You wouldn’t have to hide anything from them,” he said.

“What if they don’t like me?” she asked.

“What if they do?” Robert countered. Aura took a moment to weigh the pros and cons in her mind. Her head tilted back and forth as mental scenarios played out. Finally, she nodded to herself then looked up at Robert.

“I want to meet them.”

“Alright!” Robert gave Aura a thumbs up gesture. “Tomorrow?” She nodded eagerly.

“I’m gonna go pack!” she bolted from the booth before Robert or Mrs. Chang could stop her.

“Don’t worry. I’ll temper her expectations,” Mrs. Chang offered. Robert waved a dismissive hand.

“I don’t think it’ll be an issue. It’s near impossible to find orphaned fairy children,” he shrugged. “If I didn’t already know where there was one, I never would have been able to help them.”

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